Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Looking at the Bright Side

I admit that I have felt pretty bad over receiving my lowest score to date but unlike other times, this bad mark has not deterred me from saying that I can overcome (though I must acknowledge that it stung for a minute!). I guess it is the leadership program, good credit, and working in my major. I am currently working as a statistician at another agency. Even though it is kind of boring, I have learned how to calculate moving averages which is important to statistics. Therefore, in a recession, the fact that I have two jobs when many are searching for one is enough to view myself as successful. See if I was at Cleveland State studying for my MBA and climbing the ladder then I would be concerned with my academic performance. However, as a GS-11 Economist, steady credit, and an emergency fund, I am not clamoring as much over a couple of bad grades. The financial solvency has calmed my nerves because I live in DC on the same street as the university. I am no longer taking the bus to Farragut Square then transfer to the blue line to the Pentagon metro station then transfer to another bus. All I have to board one bus and get off at DuPont Circle then walk ten minutes to my apartment which I have because of solid credit.

However, I refuse to waste any of my scholarship money on getting anything lower than a B this semester. It is amazing that after outlining the chapters and creating practice tests, my microeconomics score is better than my mathematical economics. Today that I have outlined sections 11.1 through 11.4 and solve the homework to submit this Friday after my meeting with my micro professor and slipping my comprehensive exam form under my advisor's door (Yes, I know that I can pull this around even though this professor moves the second midterm to December 1st one week before the final exam on December 8th.). Also later this evening, I will finish outlining chapter 12 and start solving problems 1 and 3 on the fourth homework assignment. I will walk into the office having read all of the material so I can ask more informed questions. In a weird kind of way, I feel that microeconomics not mathematical economics may be my saving grace which is great because I need the former to sit for the comprehensive exam. This is not over by a long shot!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Notes from the Final Presidential Debate

Barack Obama soundly defeated John McCain during tonight's third and final presidential debate. McCain came off bitter and evasive, never really directly answering any question moderator Bob Schieffer posed to him. That was extremely irritating because I wanted McCain to give an honest answer about education, trade and balancing the budget. Moreover, Barack Obama reinforced the importance of education because if I possess a high quality education, nothing is unachievable. It motivated to push harder to obtain my MA in Economics degree. I agreed with Barack on everything except charter schools because are centrally located in poor communities fostering divide and conquer strategies instead of academic competition. Charter schools are located in inner-city communities not Cicero and Hyde Park. Finally, charter schools are another form of the poverty tax because those parents who have children in these institutions still pay income taxes to the school system that they are not using. I attend my school system and my household stayed above the poverty line because my parents did neither have to pay out of pocket for education nor have to pay gas prices to drive me there.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Brownies Did It! Cleveland Clobbered the NY Giants 35-14

I am so proud that my Brownies clobbered the Super Bowl champions 35-14 last night in Cleveland. I am so happy about this win because I reside in DC, this is a great morale booster especially after my subpar micro grade!

The Morning After

The sun rises in the sky, a brilliant vision. I breathe deeply, relax, and know I can face the day. The sun sets in the sky, a glorious image. I close my eyes, know I did my best today, and prepare for the day to come.

I truly do need this especially after bombing my graduate microeconomics midterm yesterday. This magnifies the importance of acing my mathematical methods midterm next week; and, my econometrics midterm this Thursday (Speaking of which my professor has emailed me this morning; but, instead of battling it out I will simply delete the message. Why fight this early in the morning?). That all but assured me that next year I will not be attending a top-tier doctoral university (though as an alumna I could still sit in on one AU doctoral class per semester. See the power of positive thinking! Yes, I know that applying to an Ivy League is out of the question but I can still graduate with my MA in Economics degree then take courses at American in preparation for my next move.).

Sunday, October 05, 2008

It's All Starting to Come Together

Until now I had not known how much walking from M Street to DuPont Circle had worn me out. My muscles are still soar even after my hour nap. At least I had solved micro homework problems 1 through 4 (Well, there are bits and pieces that need to be finished which I will do at 8pm because I need to score a check plus on this assignment. Never again will I skip another micro class and assignment!). I am only having problems with number 5 which I will email him at 9pm. He will probably answer tomorrow morning; meaning, that I will get it during lunch time (At least I have solved the majority of the assignment!).

This third assignment has been a journey of self-discovery. Friday I admitted that I did not know certain concepts and immediately started working on them by reading chapter 10. Saturday I made major headway by finishing chapter 10 and solving problem 4. Sunday I reread chapter 8, solved problems 2 and 3, and learned not to fear my Ti Voyage 200 calculator just because I forgot how to solve LaGrange multipliers. While rereading chapter 8 for a second time, I laughed at how I had to do the same thing when at Cleveland State. There was no harm in rereading all of the chapters if that meant that I totally understood everything and aced the midterm. Honestly I thought that this was what it took in order to do well because microeconomics was my hardest class!

Tonight I will reread a portion of chapter 10 and try to solve problem 5 then start reading ECON 505 because homework is due Tuesday and I want to submit it after meeting with th TA for my tutoring session. I know that there is a lot of pressure on me, however, I know that I can do all of it including econometrics. Right after tomorrow's class I will return to my office to register my name and log onto blackboard to print all of the material. Since I am in training the entire week, my days are essentially off limits. However, my nights are not so I will cram as much as I can into them. I am thankful that I do not have to commute to Virginia this week saving me in between thirty and sixty minutes valuable sleeping time. This week I can roll out of bed at 8am instead of 7am. And I will use every opportunity afforded to me to get all of my work done.

With the upcoming microeconomics midterm, I will skip ALDP training and return to the professor's office to review anything that I do not understand. I just do not want to freeze up like I constantly do during the homework assignments. I feel that with the review session, the TA session, Friday's appointment and my rereading all of the chapters, there is no reason why an A impossible. Ever since dropping microeconomics in 2006, I promise that this time will be different! Earning an A in this class (because I know that I will earn an A in mathematical methods), will give me my first 4.0 grade point average at the graduate level. This will help me during the comprehensive exam and provide a cushion for my master's thesis.

This week I will email my advisor my idea to examine the Academic Competitiveness Grant's impact on encouraging more native-born American citizens to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Education is so vital towards my success that this has to be my topic. I will fight tooth and nail to defend it next year. It is important to start now instead of waiting for my Education Department contact to deliver the end-of-the-year report because there are so many hurdles to clear such as assembling a three professor panel and getting my idea cleared. The more I contemplate my topic, the more it makes sense to buy the STATA econometrics software to run regression analysis on it. Learning another statistical software language gives me more credibility. In addition, I will put eViews on my computer. Heck, I have paid for it so why not? This gives me another language. I will shoe my advisor that I am so serious that there is no way of denying my topic!

Friday, October 03, 2008

A Day in the Life

I started my day bright and early 9am in my microeconomics teacher's office reviewing problem 4. This session helped me so much because I went about it the wrong the way. He helped me go from the profit function to setting quantity demand equal to quantity and solving the equation. During this time I admitted that expenditure minimization was my problem; and, starting my ALDP assignment was the reason behind missing September 22nd class. The stress of being founded out was released from my body because I did not feel dumb after all. All I had to do was reread the chapters to better understand the material.

Upon returning home, I began outlining chapter 10. Then I traveled to Morton's for my 12:45pm lunch. That was the plan until the fire alarm rang forcing an evacuation. After walking across the street as a precaution (the man who sold me a charity basketball ticket then mentioned that his Cleveland friend got shot was once again hawking them this year in the very same spot!). Returning across the street, I thought that Washington Square would let people back in but was wrong so I walked to the Palm praying that there was not a huge lunch line.

Thank goodness for a recession because there was hardly anyone there! I got a table for one immediately. Once seated the first things I thought were that it was neither raining nor snowing; I changed into something comfortable to be able to walk; and, I had the money to afford either steakhouse. The live House on the bailout glared across the bar's TV screen (It passed then both the House leaders and President Bush spoke. My own waiter was distracted by the vote. Hey to all of you fat cats: Eat Ramen noodles!). I ordered the chopped steak with a half order of three cheese potatoes and a regular Coke for $21.18 plus $5 tip for exemplary service!

Departing the restaurant I walked to the Farragut West 18th street entrance to hop the orange train to Ballston to withdraw Keep the Faith by Faith Evans from the Arlington Central Library. Even before Biggie Smalls, Faith had an interesting life especially how she was classmates with the three black men who made a pact to support each other and become doctors (The Pact a movie based on their lives was shown at the Cleveland Film Festival). This resonated with me when I saw my friend two weeks ago at the NBMBAA annual conference. I was happy that someone from the old neighborhood made it!

Although I did not let a measly fire alarm deter me, it along with two public transportation trips drained me of my energy. Yet I continued outlining chapter 10 which I will complete tomorrow along with solving problems 4 and 5. In addition, the microeconomics teaching assistant replied that Tuesday at 5:30pm was okay but to forward her the homework problems which I had problems. Saturday after solving my homework, I will make a list of any problems that I still have (expenditure minimization will and Lagrange multipliers will be on the list because I am hazy on these two.). It is important to make a concerted effort into solving my homework instead of allowing someone else to do the work for me.

Finally the woman from the company which the USDA Graduate School contracted for its GRE class forwarded me the name of another instructor who essential gave me the GR92-2 sections 2 and 4 letter answers; but, I wanted them worked-out because that was what the substitute math tutor promised. I communicated to him and provided a succinct example. They will give me my just desserts!

This entire day was filled with the predictable and unpredictable yet one thing remained constant: my ability to get it done regardless of circumstance.